It’s Arisia weekend. I’ve written about Arisia a lot over the lifespan of this blog, though of course only the last iteration, from last January, is still around. Arisia is a general interest geek/fan convention with a focus on speculative fiction and media (though it’s also about art, and costuming, and history, and science, and martial arts, and steampunk, and swordfighting and robotics and theatre and dance…)

It’s been the highlight of my year for nearly a decade; four days where I get to stay in Boston — one of my favorite places — with a few thousand other people with similar interests, where I get to hang out with my brother (who regularly works at the con), where I can introduce my son to and encouarge him in his own nerdy interests and endeavors, where I can talk about and listen to others talking about my interests and passions, where I can be around artists and makers and creators and just sort of exist among people with who I feel comfortable. Some cons I am very social, some cons I am only incidentally social, but I always come back from Arisia feeling excited and rejunevated and inspired.

Needless to say, Arisia is not happening this traditional sense this year. Which is hard. At a time where I feel the need to escape and “get away” the most, I’m absolutely unable to. And — I’ve said this on Twitter already — don’t mistake me, it was absolutely, 1000% the right call. No one should be attending or hosting a convention right now. But it still hurts. It’s still a major fucking bummer, and I think I’m within my right to be bummed out by the situation even though I understand it’s necessity.

So this year we went virtual. It’s… different. It’s impressive how, between the convention’s interface, the zoom panels, and the Discord, they’ve made it relatively immersive and have replicated, as closely as they can in a virtual domain, the feeling of the convention. I’ve really enjoyed the panels I’ve attended so far, and despite all odds, I’ve managed to capture a little bit of that excited, creative spark, in spite of the situation.

It’s not exactly the same, of course; my brother isn’t here, for instance. He usually works security for the convention, and this weekend is generally the only one the entire year where I can guarantee some time with him, and neither is my mother. Bear isn’t running through the hallways doing karate and donning hand-made bat wings and a steampunk fascinator. There are no endless lines at Starbucks, or wandering the lobby barefoot at 1 am, or grabbing curry fries to go at MJ O’Connors before hitting the Masquerade. No sketching in the backrow while I wait for the Dr Horrible Shadowcast to get things set up.

Oh, man. I’m making myself sad. Suffice it to say, it’s not the same. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. This has been (hell, this is; it’s not over until tomorrow at like 4) a great virtual convention.

I just missing… going place, you know. Doing things.

But for even this virtual con to make me excited to make? To make me eager to create more? That’s something. Come on. That’s got to count for something.

Arisia, I can’t wait to be back in person in 2022.

Take care of yourselves, everyone.

A Hint of Nostalgia

Today has been a fantastically lazy day.  I spent the latter half of the night on the couch yet again because of The Cough That Just Won’t Quit, and Bear came bounding down the stairs at about 6:45 am, Pokedex in hand, and body-slammed me where I lay.  We cuddled, watching Brainchild, until around 9:00, when I finally got up an prepped up a vacation-worthy breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, corned beef hash, and apple sauce.

While I worked today, I was feeling nostalgic and went over to YouTube and started streaming Welcome to Night Vale, starting right from the Pilot.  It’s a trip, let me tell you; I’d nearly forgotten how much I absolutely adore early Night Vale, and over a year removed from actually keeping up with the show, it’s sometimes easy to forget what made me fall in love with the show and its stories in the first place.  I fell into the fandom during a bout with a mild flu, in December 2013; I remember waking up from a bizarre fever dream, Night Vale still playing in my headphones, the opening chords of Danny Schmidt’s “This Too Shall Pass”¹ rousing me to semi-wakefulness.  In January of 2014, my fandom in full swing, I attended a standing room only Night Vale panel at my first Arisia, followed by a wonderful, small impromptu meet-up afterward, and scored tickets to what would be the first of five live shows I would see them perform.  In spite of falling out of the fandom, it remains one of the best ones I’ve ever been in, and I have wonderful memories of it.

Cecil Baldwin (The Voice of Night Vale) and I; March 1st, 2014.  This was the last time he wore anything nearly this tame on stage, lol.

The fruits of my labor today are the beginnings of a painting, the background of which I adore, though I think I’m going paint over the foreground, and the beginning of a drawing.  The drawing is two days deep at the moment, and I’m incredibly happy with how it’s turning out, though I need to find a few more visual references for the sketch before I can even think about inking.

It’s Tuesday night — tomorrow is halfway (including for my vacation, sadly).  Treat yourself to something special, get a good night’s rest, and brace yourself for the hurdle.  I’ll see you on the other side.


¹To this day, Danny Schmidt’s “This Too Shall Pass” remains not only one of my favorite Weathers, but one of my favorite songs, full-stop:




This is the last of the Week of Eyes sketches, and the first several sketches in my series of noses.  I’m not displeased with how they are going, and I’m certain then will look better in anatomical context, but man — I still hate drawing noses.


I have spent the last several day consumed by the fannish aftermath of The Good Place finale.  There’s a popular meme format around Tumblr called “________________ Spoilers Without Context,” which usually uses images unrelated to the given media that will obliquely harken back to a moment in the show/episode, but only if the reader has seen said media.  I can’t find one for the finale yet or I would have linked it.  Suffice it to say, approach this one armed with plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated.  If you’ve any thoughts on said finale, I’d love to hear them.

It hurts letting this show go, far more than I anticipated it would three years ago when I started watching.  I initially started watching because my husband had been intrigued by the premise, and we caught up with it via Netflix — the first season was a whirlwind that was hard to walk away from — we marathoned the entire thing in maybe a week, and that took an incredible amount of restraint on our part.  Since then, watching week by week, it became one of my absolute favorite pieces of media of all time, with some of my favorite characters, and one of my favorite ensemble casts ever.

I am not someone who knows how to like things casually.  I don’t “sort of” get into a lot of things.  More often than not, I am either entirely disinterested, or I am in, with every fiber of my being.  This was a show that captured my whole heart, and I will miss it with my whole heart as well.

There is a passage in a book by Banana Yoshimoto that I often point people too when they try to talk about that feeling of a favorite piece of media — be it a book series or movie franchise or show — ending, because it captures the feeling (for everyone, but especially for those of us with various media as our Special Interests) so well:


From Goodbye Tsugumi, by Banana Yoshimoto

I’ve been going back and reading some of my favorite fanfic in the aftermath of the finale.  I try to keep this blog relatively tame, so I sadly can’t link a lot of the fic I read, ahem (though, as deeply and utterly as I am in love with Chidi/Eleanor, I can enthusiastically recommend most fics tagged Hellstrop (or Eleanor/Michael)).

However, there was one fic I sought out today that I read when it was still new.  It remains very underrated, and it deserves so much more love than it’s gotten.

somewhere else, by zedpmTahani, Chidi, and Jason reckon with being alive.  Written prior to the premiere of Season Three, it would now be considered AU, but it is beautifully written and satisfying, with so many moments that ached, much in the same way the finale did.

It’s Saturday night, guys.  Go do something good.

Back to Reality


I arrive back from Arisia 2020 tired, inspired, and more than a little bit down; post-con letdown/blues/depression/hangover/whatnot is real, and it is potent.  I had a wonderful time, and after seeing Bear interact with various peers (and even older children and adults this year), I have big hopes that next year he will be able to qualify for Fast Track, which would give he and I both a greater measure of independence at the convention.

Bear has also decided that he wants to be a Masquerade participant next year in the Young Fan Division, and I am feeling a stronger and stronger pull to apply to be a panelist next year, so I have grand hopes that Arisia 2021 will be epic… but it hurts, just a little, knowing that it’s a whole year away.

Back to work tomorrow.  I’ll do a quick rundown of the con, including the things I’ve been pondering in it’s wake, and what it’s motivated and inspired me to do and consider.  It was a productive year, and I have lots of hope and excitement for both my fannish and creative projects going forward in the near future.

But just for tonight, I think I’ve earned some junk food, a big margarita, and a good (mostly metaphorical) cry into a pillow before I’m forced back into the Real World tomorrow morning.

Hope your weekends have been restful and rewarding.

Sunday, (Fan)day

My daily sketch:


Not happy with this sketch; I actually generally dislike all the human figures I draw (which is why I’m trying to make it a priority to draw more of them, because I need the practice).  My biggest issue, as I’ve said, is proportion, and, going sort of hand-in-hand with that, perspective.  I have trouble conceptualizing forms in space in the abstract, so I absolutely have to have a reference photo, and because my sense of proportion is off, it never ends up resembling the reference and I end up just feeling discouraged.  I hate how hard it is for me to be okay with not being good at drawing things; this was, again, a sketch I wanted to sort of sweep under the rug.  I’m not.  I’m owning it.  And I’m going to draw more and more human figures, because that’s the only way I’ll get better.

I was excited to see, when the schedule went live tonight, that Arisia is having a few “figure drawing” panels/workshops; the timing really seems like kismet, given my resolve as of late to get better at art.  One of them will actually be the first panel I attend on Friday night, and I’m excited.

Actually, I’m excited the Arisia schedule went live, full stop.  This is late for them, and I’m thrilled by some of the panels and offerings.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet on this iteration of the blog but I’m intensely interested in fandom culture, and I’ve been attending fan conventions for eleven years.  Arisia is, by and far, the favorite of the cons I’ve ever been to.  This is my seventh Arisia, and I’m just as excited as the first year.

Today was oddly Arisia-centric.  Along with going to the gym (and woo, what a workout that was), my only foray out of the house today was to Savers, to try to round-up the necessary accouterments to put together a Crowley cosplay.  Good Omens was a huge fandom for me in the summer of 2019, so much so that I had a Good Omens-centric Tumblr and read more fic in that one fandom over the summer than I’ve read in all my fandoms over the prior six months, I kid you not.  I was lucky enough to be gifted his sunglasses over the holidays, and thought it’d be relatively easy to find the other pieces —  grey slacks, a vest, a blazer.

Sadly, it was not.  I might try again next week, but I’m not going to pretend I’m not a bit discouraged.  I don’t do cosplay generally, I just don’t have the time or the money (or really, the inclination in general, though I do love cosplay-watching at cons, and have deep respect for talented cosplayers), but Crowley, I don’t know.  Crowley was special to me.  I gorged myself on Crowley-centric fic over the summer, particularly the “Crowley Was Raphael Before He Fell” and “Genderfluid Crowley” tags over on AO3, and I was really looking forward to putting together something for the con.  Maybe I still have a chance.  We’ll see.

Back to work tomorrow, and Bear’s first day back at school.  I’m almost done my micron pen piece, so I might work on it and possibly finish it tonight.  It’s not perfect, but I’m still thrilled with how it’s come along.

Here’s to a good work week.